|Despite uncertainty about the future of the State Bar Board of Governors,
11 candidates filed for election to one of five open seats on the board. Bar governance
has become a key issue in resolving the stalemate over funding the organization, but the
board voted 13-5 last month to proceed with the election.
A spokesman for Gov. Pete
Wilson, who vetoed the bar's funding bill in October, called the voting an exercise
Principal funding for the $30,000 election is being picked up by Cable & Wireless,
the largest long-distance provider in the U.S. and a corporate sponsor of the Foundation
of the State Bar. It is providing $27,500. Private contributions make up the remainder,
and the MetNews Corp. of Los Angeles, which publishes the Metropolitan News, is donating
printing of the ballots.
Bar officials said no member dues will be used to pay for the election, which is
required by statute.
The majority of board candidates see the coming year as an opportunity to change the
State Bar, whether its structure or its focus.
Some are running as outsiders who could bring a fresh perspective, and others are
longtime bar activists wishing to serve as leaders. Two candidates are campaigning on a
platform of either eliminating the mandatory bar or peeling off its voluntary activities.
Ballots were mailed last month to attorneys who practice in the four bar districts
which have contested elections. Voting ends Sept. 19.
The new board members will begin their terms after the bar's Annual Meeting in October.